Lorong Bistari was one of the numerous roads that were expunged in the late eighties and early nineties due to the development of Choa Chu Kang New Town (Choa Chu Kang North, or Yew Tee today) and the expansion of the Kranji army camps.
The remaining 50m stretch of Lorong Bistari, off Choa Chu Kang Way, is still visible today, although it is no longer listed in most modern maps and street directories. The defunct road, along with its several old lamp posts, has been gradually forgotten. Other roads such as Lorong Chembol, Lorong Keduang and Lorong Puyu had long completely disappeared into history, while part of Lorong Kebasi (where the former Yew Tee Community Centre once stood) and Lorong Limbang (which gave rise to the naming of Limbang, one of the neigbourhoods at Choa Chu Kang North) were absorbed into the restricted premises of Kranji Camp.
Choa Chu Kang was a different picture in the sixties and seventies, where pig, poultry and vegetable farms were abundant. On the opposite side of Woodlands Road, there were granite mills and crushing plants for the Mandai Quarry, providing ample job opportunities for the villagers living in the vicinity. At Lorong Bistari, small businesses such as hardware shops and sawmills lined up along the road; Guan Seng, one of the sawmills, was destroyed in a fire in 1973. An estimated 150 tons of wooden planks and boards, reported to be worth $80,000, were consumed by the flames.
The Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) started developing a small light industrial estate at Choa Chu Kang North in the early eighties. It was named Yew Tee Industrial Estate, and was made up of rows of double-storey terrace workshops built in the area bounded by Woodlands Road, Stagmont Ring, the railway tracks and Peng Sua Canal. To boost the industry, parcels of vacant lands near Lorong Bistari, between 30,000 and 60,000 square feet, were made available for lease to small factories.
The Choa Chu Kang New Town was developed in the late eighties. By 1991, as many as 35,000 housing units were ready. However, Choa Chu Kang North, or Yew Tee, was not yet developed as a residential district, even though main roads such as Choa Chu Kang Way were already laid by the late eighties. It was only after the completion and opening of Yew Tee MRT Station in 1996 that the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) decided to carry out its Development Guide Plan to transform Choa Chu Kang North into a modern new town.
To provide a greater ease of accessibility to the new town, a new expressway called Kranji Expressway (KJE) was constructed in the early nineties, linking Choa Chu Kang, Bukit Panjang and Bukit Batok to both the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) and Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE). Part of the original Stagmont Ring was used as a section of KJE that cut through Choa Chu Kang and split it into northern and southern portions. It took a total of $128 million and four years for KJE to be fully operational ready in 1994.
Published: 20 April 2015